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Eric Ebron improving, better rapport with Stafford

Eric Ebron's progress in his sophomore NFL season remains a pivot point for the Detroit Lions' offense.

Behind Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, Ebron's ability to become a playmaker for quarterback Matthew Stafford would completely open up offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi's offense.

According to beat writers at both major newspapers in Detroit, Ebron has enjoyed a solid training camp thus far, improving his route running and lessening the drops.

The tight end told the team's official website his improvement is thanks to a better rapport with Stafford.

"Talking, just communicating, just understanding what's going on in his mind," Ebron said of Stafford. "We both understand now the same thing and we both speak the same language. That's how it works for us.

"It's like coach always says, 'be the quarterback's best friend.'"

Ebron was anything but Stafford's best friend on the field during a dissapointing rookie year. The 6-foot-4 target caught just 25 passes for 248 yards and one touchdown. He often looked like a player thinking instead of reacting during plays. His drops likely maddened the quarterback as much as they outraged Lions fans.

"Eric for sure has a bunch of talent and he and I are on the same page when we start talking," Stafford said. "He understands what I'm saying now a little bit more than last year."

Improved chemistry with the quarterback, a better understanding of the offense and dedication to the craft could turn it around for the former No. 10 overall pick. Tight end is one of the most difficult positions for rookies to make a smooth transition -- especially one trying to learn so many receiving positions.

"I can be whatever (Stafford) needs me to be," Ebron said. "As long as he's throwing the ball and I'm catching it, we'll always be happy."

Catching passes would make a lot of people in Detroit happy.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Steve Smith's retirement news and predicts the training camp QB battles.

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